In this episode of Learn English With Photos, we take another look at plays on words and puns used in UK shop names (see earlier episode). You can download a transcript and glossary here, and find all previous episode of Learn English With Photos on YouTube.
COMMENTARY This cartoon contains a lot of grammar points, wordplay, phrasal verbs, and idioms. To get further information, just hover your mouse over the words highlighted in pale blue.
TRANSCRIPT HAMLET: Being overweight is holding my career back. If I were thinner, I could go up for romantic lead parts. BRUTUS: Aye, Hamlet, happen you could. But if you lost weight, think of all those character roles you’d miss out on. HAMLET: Tubby or not tubby, that is the question. BRUTUS: Actually, I’m in a bit of a pickle myself. My agent’s put me up for a job on the so-called 'English Riviera'. HAMLET: But Brutus, old chap, if you take a job on the English Riviera, you’ll be miles away, and out of the theatrical loop. BRUTUS: Torbay or not Torbay, that is the question. FRENCH COW: Excuse me, mes amis, but I couldn’t help but hear your conversation. For I too am on the horns of a, how you say, dilemma. HAMLET: We say ‘dilemma’. FRENCH COW: Aye, that’s right, dilemma. I want to act, but my family in France are putting pressure on me to return home to Seine et Marne and become involved in the local soft cheese industry. HAMLET: Bummer. FRENCH COW: To Brie or not to Brie, that is the question. BUZZ THE BEE: Bzzzzzzzzz. Hello Hamlet. Excuse me but I too …
NOTE You can watch Laurence Olivier reciting Hamlet's 'to be, or not to be' soliloquy, here.
TRANSCRIPT For World Water Day an astonishing discovery has been announced — there is water on Twitter. UNICEF suggests we recuperate this water for the right cause. The H2O challenge. It's a simple idea. Filter your tweets to extract the characters H, 2, and O in order to create water molecules. Then all you have to do is make a donation to UNICEF to transform these virtual molecules into drinking water for children in Togo. So, how much water do you think is hidden in your tweets? To find out, visit the campaign website: http://h2o-challenge.com.
This beautiful ad is part of a campaign warning about the threat of overfishing, specifically in relation to tuna.
"Because of its high market value, tuna are among the “most wanted” fish for those fishing illegally. A single tuna was sold for a record $ 1.76 million at a Tokyo auction. Over exploitation and illegal fishing drove this species to brink of collapse. In the near future, Bluefin tuna might be a successful history of recovery, but the rest of oceans giants remain forgotten while they disappear from our seas."
Visit the superb Sea Legend website to find out more. I've textivated the voiceover below, and you can find the original text here. Click on textivate.com and then 'textivate now' for lots more activities based on the same text.
OVERVIEW BEhereBEthere is a free eLearning website for Business English. The name means ‘Business English here, Business English there.’ BEhereBEthere is the ‘baby’ of just one person, Paul Emmerson, a well-known figure in the Business English world who works as a writer, teacher, teacher trainer and website owner. You can find out the background story behind BEhereBEthere by reading this article.
REVIEW This is one of the best business English resources I've come across in quite a while. The site is clean and uncluttered (no ads!), and the learning materials are top quality. I particularly like the section on Meetings, which features a video case study based on a negotiation at three different language levels! There's also a role play, which would make a perfect classroom follow-up. Meanwhile, in the Management Tools section you can choose to hear the text read in British or American English, which is a nice touch. Those are just a couple of the many excellent resources available on the site, which is under constant development with new content being added every couple of months.
VERDICT Although there are lot of business English resources available on the web (see here and here, for example), I've yet to come across a site that offers such a wide range of professionally-produced interactive content — and all for free! A must for learners and teachers of business English.
In this episode of Learn English With Photos, we visit the Tower of London, one of London's most famous historic monuments, and learn some vocabulary connected with the Tower and its history. You can download a transcript and glossary for this lesson here, and see all the previous episodes of Learn English With Photos on the dedicated YouTube channel.
QUIZ How many of the places at the beginning of the video can you identify? See here for the answers.
ACTIVITY Try this activity I created from the voiceover transcript with textivate. All of the spaces and punctuation have been removed from the text. Click on the text to separate the words and put back the spaces and punctuation. You can find more activities based on the same text here.
As usual around this time of year, I'm doing a lesson about St Patrick's Day (17th March) with my EM Normandie students. In the past I've shown videos on the big screen using a videoprojector and given them questionnaires to fill in as or after they watch, but as they all have iPads now, I thought I'd try something different.
There are several web-based tools which allow you to create interactive videos by inserting questions and other media into an existing video, so I decided to try two to see how they compare: EDpuzzle and Zaption. Here's the one I made using EDpuzzle (you can find the original video here).
I couldn't embed the one I made with Zaption as my blog page is not wide enough, but you can find it here.
COMPARISON So how do the two tools compare? Well, first of all, Zaption has a slicker interface and is rather more user-friendly. Both tools let you add multiple choice and open-ended questions but only Zaption allows you to add feedback for each question (with Edpuzzle you only get the correct answer). However, with EDpuzzle you can add your own voiceover, which you can't do with Zaption. Zaption streams the videos direct from YouTube, so you get the annoying ads, and crucially, many schools (including mine) block YouTube anyway. EDpuzzle scores by allowing you to upload your own videos, which avoids this problem (in fact, I downloaded the video from YouTube to my computer, and then uploaded it to the EDpuzzle site before adding the questions). However, once you've published a video on EDpuzzle you can't edit it, whereas Zaption allows you to 'unpublish' a 'tour'. Both EdPuzzle and Zaption have apps, which is great if your students have iPads, like mine. They also both have analytic tools, which give you information about who has taken a quiz and how they did. Finally, EDpuzzle is 100% free, while you have to subscribe to Zaption ($89/year) to access some advanced features.
VERDICT I would certainly recommend both tools. If your school blocks YouTube, then EDpuzzle is a no-brainer, but Zaption does have better feedback and editing features, which just about gives it the edge in my opinion.
POSTSCRIPT Another site for making interactive videos is eduCanon, which is very similar to Zaption, except for the fact that you can only create multiple-choice questions unless you subscribe to the Premium version (also $89/year!) You can try the quiz I created with eduCanon here.
Today is Friday 13th, in case you hadn't noticed. This video from Alltime Numbers provides some interesting facts about this fateful day, which is generally considered to be unlucky by superstitious people.
LANGUAGE Note that you should say "Friday the thirteenth", even if you don't usually write the word "the". See SpeakEnglish! for more on how to say dates.
A U.K. women's rights charity behind a popular pro-feminism T-shirt has vowed to investigate claims the shirts are produced in sweatshop conditions. The shirts, which are a collaboration between the Fawcett Society and Elle magazine, sell for £45, or more than $70 each, with all the profits going to the charity. But a Mail On Sunday investigation revealed the shirts are produced on the island of Mauritius by migrant women. They are allegedly forced to sleep 16 to a room and paid just $1 per hour — around a quarter of the country’s average wage. Full transcript >>
If the timetable for exactly when countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions has always seemed a little vague to you, well, we just got a deadline: 2100. That's according to a new report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international organization of scientists dedicated to studying climate change. Using data from previous reports, the 116-page "Synthesis Report" warns global greenhouse emissions need to drop to zero by 2100 to avoid irreversible damage to our planet's atmosphere. Full transcript >>
Space travel can be risky, that's a given. Just getting up out of the Earth's gravitational pull requires massive amounts of energy. But the explosion of Orbital Science's Antares rocket on Tuesday and Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crash on Friday has made that all the more real for space industry watchers. Two spaceship accidents in one week, one resulting in the death of a pilot and seriously injuring another, has prompted the question — what does this mean for space tourism? Full transcript >>
A test flight of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo spaceplane ended in catastrophe Friday after some sort of anomaly caused the craft to break apart in midair. SpaceShipTwo was conducting a test of its rocket engines over the Mojave Desert when it experienced an unknown failure at about 50,000 feet. There were two crew members on board at the time of the accident; California Highway Patrol officials told KERO one of the pilots died in the crash and another suffered major injuries. Virgin Galactic says the craft suffered a "serious anomaly," which destroyed SpaceShipTwo. Its mothership, White Knight 2, apparently landed safely. The company added it will work with authorities to determine what caused the crash. Full transcript >>